Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday that the business group has launched a project to help Venezuelan refugees find work in Colombia.
“The arrival of migrants must be seen as a development opportunity for our country” in addition to being a humanitarian issue, the Chamber’s president Monica de Greiff said in a speech in Paris, according to public television network Canal 1.
Earlier this month, the head of Colombia’s immigration service said that 1,260,594 Venezuelan residents had registered by the end of March, an increase of 7% from the total just three months earlier.
There is no let-up in sight. The Colombian government reports that of the 63,000 Venezuelans who cross the border daily, about 2,500 come to stay.
“We want to connect our entrepreneurs, generate capacities and networks that allow us to identify business opportunities” for the Venezuelan emigres, de Greiff said.
If this happens on a large enough scale, it would not only help Colombia but also “strengthen capacities for a future economic reconstruction in Venezuela,” she said.
The scale of economic collapse in Venezuela was highlighted by a recent report that Colombia is now exporting more oil than Venezuela, even though Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, are about 150 times larger than Colombia’s. It’s the first time Colombia out-produced Venezuela in 89 years, according to Bloomberg.
The Chamber’s proposal is aimed at both Colombians who were living in Venezuela and Venezuelan natives, de Greiff said. It seeks to create “a systematic method for this population” to link with Colombian businesses and entrepreneurs.
There were no details on how what she termed the “economic intervention model aimed at Venezuelan migrants” would work. The web site of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce contains no mention of Venezuela.
Colombia President Ivan Duque Monday issued a joint statement with Peru President Martin Vizcarra asking the international community for more help in dealing with what Duque called “the worst migratory crisis that Latin America has seen in its recent history.”
Vizcarra said the international community has not grasped the magnitude of the challenge.